- Apprentice Lawyer
- Legal Jobs
Justice Sewlikar, however, concurred with Justice Nalawade's conclusion that the FIRs registered in the matter ought to be quashed.
A judgment concerning FIRs registered against 35 persons for their participation in the Nizamuddin Markaz amid the COVID-19 pandemic recently saw two Judges of the Bombay High Court differ in their reasoning to some extent on why the FIRs ought to be set aside.
Justice TV Nalawade had made strong observations slamming the Government over the episode, remarking that the FIRs and arrests were an indirect warning to Indian Muslims in the backdrop of Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests.
At the time of pronouncing the judgment, Justice MG Sewlikar had expressed that he does not agree with Justice Nalawade's reasoning to some extent, on which count he would issue a separate judgment.
Accordingly, Justice Sewlikar has now authored a separate judgment dated August 27, which intimates his disagreement with the observations in paragraph 35 of Justice Nalawade's judgment.
Paragraph 35 of Justice Nalawade's judgment reads,
However, Justice Sewlikar has opined that there wasn't sufficient material before the Court for it to make these observations. In this regard, Justice Sewlikar's judgment states,
However, insofar as the merit of the petitions seeking to quash the FIR are concerned, Justice Sewlikar agreed that the petitions ought to be allowed.
He has reiterated that there is nothing on record to show when the petitioners were infected with COVID-19 when they arrived in India or to show that visa conditions were violated by the foreign attendees.
"The statements of the witnesses recorded during the investigation do not show that the foreign nationals were propagating religion. Continuation of prosecution against the petitioners in these circumstances would be an abuse of process of Court", Justice Sewlikar added, while ruling that the FIRs and charge sheets under challenge should be quashed.
Read Justice MG Sewlikar's judgment: